• Antimony;
  • Heavy metal;
  • Herbaceous plant;
  • Phytoremediation


A field survey of native herbaceous plants and associated soil in an antimony mining area of Xikuangshan, Hunan Province, China was conducted to identify species that accumulate heavy metals in their tissues. The results indicate that the soils in the mining area were contaminated mainly by As and Sb, at concentrations of 423.77–526.57 and 228.37–445.20 mg/kg, respectively. Of the herbaceous plants, Miscanthus sinensis and Imperata cylindrica exhibited Hg and Cd phytoextraction, with bioconcentration factors (BCFs) and translocation factors (TFs) greater than 1. Moreover, Phytolacca americana could be used for the phytostabilization of Pb and Cd (BCF = 1.06 and 7.66, respectively), and Cynodon dactylon had considerable potential for As and Sb stabilization (BCF = 2.02 and 6.62, respectively). Boehmeria was capable of accumulating Sb and As in its shoots (TF = 3.12 and 4.86, respectively). Additionally, the concentration of Sb in the roots of C. dactylon reached 2209.3 mg/kg, which is the highest Sb concentration reported in a plant species to date. Our data suggest that native herbaceous plants growing in metal-contaminated sites have phytoremediation potential.